Eurovision 2023: Here We Go Again

Strap in as Solomiya Sywak details for you the epic highs and lows (but mostly lows) of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest

It’s that time of year again, time to get out all the silver outfits from deep inside the closet because Eurovision 2023 has just smacked the whole world in the face with glitter! For the first time in the competition’s history, Eurovision was jointly hosted by the United Kingdom and Ukraine and was held in the birthplace of the Beatles: Liverpool. Do not fear – the Grand Finale featured a very sexy rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

Starting from the ultimate Grand Finale that featured a diehard Viking battle – Finland or Sweden for the win. With Sweden’s Loreen performing ‘Tattoo’ within a panini press, the electro power ballad stunned the national juries yet left audiences wanting more. We’ve heard this millennial club belter before in Loreen’s previous winning entry ‘Europhoria’ in 2012, and her 2023 contribution simply paled in comparison (in my humble opinion) to absolute crowd favourite, Finland. Finnish star Käärijä, with his banger ‘Cha Cha Cha’, quite literally brought the house down – beginning his act in a wooden crate which soon revealed chacha dancers who would go on to recreate the human centipede. The wild fusion of metal, club and ballroom dance became an instant Eurovision classic, so much so that when Sweden was announced the winner (with 583 points) all of Europe roared “CHA CHA CHA”. 

2023 Eurovision winner Loreen (Sweden) performs ‘Tattoo’ in the live Grand Finale
Despite not taking home the crown, Käärijä’s (Finland) ‘Cha Cha Cha’ was a clear fan favourite.

The rest of the competition this year was lacklustre…for trashy Europop standards anyways. Yet I do feel that this year’s competition heralds a new age for Eurovision as more and more countries opt to sing either partially (or fully!) in their own languages, and further incorporate traditional musical elements into their acts. This is perfectly exemplified in Albania’s entry, Albina & Familja Kelmendi’s ‘Duje’, which hits all the Balkan party notes – the synth accordion brass remix with all the additives of one of those CD’s you’d hear at a Balkan wedding just make me want to limbo under their perfect harmonies. One of my favourite translated lines from the song was “what is happening here?”, because same.

Out of all the acts from the Big Five (Spain, UK, Germany, Italy and France) who at this point don’t even need to try because they’re automatically in the final for paying for the competition, Germany’s Lord of the Lost and their song ‘Blood and Glitter’ was the only memorable entry. This industrial metal band was high energy and high latex pants, it definitely made me want to scream at the TV with them. 

Some TikTok favourites include Norway’s Alessandra Mele with ‘Queen of King’s, Austria’s Teya and Selena with ‘Who the hell is Edgar?’, and Slovenia’s Joker Out with ‘Carpe Diem’, the latter of which is now flooding my FYP with fan edits of the performance. Alessandra provided an appropriate (and here we have another Viking reference) sea shanty with a powerful yet not-always-spot-on whistle note. And damn, who the hell is edgar? Because Austria made an important statement on the lack of Spotify funds with one hell of a catchy chorus – “poe poe poe poe”. But my absolute favourite was Joker Out – the costuming was definitely from an Incu sale but the actual song was a Slovenian version of Britpop. With stylistic choices reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand, this song is an essential for any FBI radio enjoyer trying to soundtrack their Euro Summer.

Croatia’s Let 3 perform ‘Mama ŠČ!’

Controversial for Croatia was the leftist art-punk group Let 3 with their song ‘Mama ŠČ!’: the kitschy staging and costuming (a group of old men in dresses striping down to their undies which are definitely losing their elastic…) was hiding a political statement on Belarussian ties with r*ssia. Alongside this, Czechia’s entry Vesna with ‘My Sister’s Crown’ was sung in English, Ukrainian, Czech and Bulgarian, and was a thinly veiled Girl Power song which extended support to Ukraine. Both songs were dynamic, with fun and catchy choruses which had the audience’s jumping (or in fact, marchin)g. And they say Eurovision isn’t political! (It totally wasn’t involved in a political coup in Portugal in 1976…)

My three least favourite finale entries were Israel, Poland and Switzerland: each of these songs were safer than a book ever being borrowed from Fisher, and they were more cringe than powerful. Israel’s entry, Noa Kirel’s ‘Unicorn’, was corny to say the least. I mean, unless you’re 12 or a brony, why write a song about a unicorn? But the electronic and synth beats as well as the acrobatic dance break did make an enjoyable watch. Poland’s Blanka with ‘Solo’ had the same vibe but toned down to a -1 on energy. It was classic Eurovision slop circa 2016 and I personally believe it lacked the energy of other entrants. Most controversial is the rumoured corrupt Polish Eurovision national election, the crowd booed as the jury proclaimed that Poland had chosen Blanka’s song over Jann’s ‘Gladiator’. And finally, my absolute least favourite (dare I may say) was Switzerland with Remo Forrer’s ‘Watergun’. A tasteless chance to get pity points by saying “war is bad!” over and over in a 3 minute song, Remo’s vocals were tired and the stage boring.

Well there you go, another year another ruthless commentary on the Eurovision Song competition. Obviously, I could talk about these songs all day (and no I’m not actually that mean) but everyone needs constructive criticism. Overall an enjoyable year, but there needed to be vastly more amounts of glitter and accordions!

Goodnight Europe and Goodnight Australia!

Solomiya’s honourable mentions:

1. Belgium -> Gustaph ‘Because of You’

2. Spain -> Blanco Paloma ‘Eaea’

3. Moldova -> Pasha Parfini ‘Soarele și Luna’

4. Portugal → Mimicat ‘Ai coração’

5. Australia → Voyager ‘Promise’

6. Ukraine → Tvorchi ‘Heart of Steel’

7. Azerbaijan → TuralTuranX ‘Tell me More’

8. Lithuania → Monika Linkyte ‘Stay’

9. Serbia → Luke Black ‘Samo mi se Spava’

10. One more time for the people in the back! Finland → Käärijä ‘Cha Cha Cha’

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